Our state's tomatoes are nationally recognized as being among the best in the world. To pay homage to the great work being done in our state and to promote local agriculture, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture honors those who have excelled in providing Jersey Fresh produce to school children in our state. They are the Top Tomatoes in the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Program!
Jennifer Salt is the nutrition and food service manager at Center for Family Resources, a Head Start and Early Head Start agency serving Passaic County with the exceptions of Paterson and Passaic City. Jen oversees and directs the production of meals and snacks for about 500 children daily in accordance with the CACFP guidelines. During her four years in this position, Jen has worked hard with staff and families to ensure that all are gaining access to healthy food. This is done through organic gardens at some of the classroom sites, but also through education and advocacy. The "CFR Children's Memorial Garden" at the administrative site in Ringwood, helps supply the food for four of the sites and also acts as a learning lab for the classrooms. This site in Ringwood also has an outdoor classroom and hiking trails which has allowed for centers without these opportunities to take field trips and learn about gardening and nature.
Effective collaboration is the focus of Jennifer’s work as she believes that the greatest impact can be made by working together. Building relationships with local agencies has allowed the families Jen serves to have more nutrition education opportunities across the entire county. Partnering with the United Way has made Food Corps service members available to the Center for Family Resources for gardening, nutrition, and physical activity education. Through working on the Passaic County Food Policy Council, Jen advocates for “Breakfast after the Bell” in Clifton and participates in a local food buying club. A great collaboration with City Green learning farm brings families together for “Farm to Table Family Fun Nights” where Head Start children harvest produce with their families to cook dinner together.
Jen is passionate about educating the community and has run multiple grant programs that teach how to eat healthy on a budget. She also works with families and staff on individual levels and teaches kids cooking classes at the Highlands Family Success Center. In addition, Jen developed a worksite wellness committee and staff wellness procedures. Overall, Jen is dedicated to creating sustainable systems that advance healthy behaviors for all community members.